First of all, and most importantly I might add, is to differentiate between a "cousin birthday party" and an "outsiders birthday party".
This very important first step will determine the outcome of the entire remaining birthday party prepping process.
After you have categorized the party you will then need to guide your child through the following steps in order to prepare him/her for what is about to follow:
Step 1: The Gift - If you are going to a cousin's party your children are free to rummage through their personal belongings (and sometimes their siblings belongings when they're not looking) to pick out the perfect gift. My kids have a special knack for hand-picking the sweetest gifts from their own stash that ensure delight from the recipient every time! (Hey, if you have over a dozen cousins that all live within minutes of you and there is a birthday every couple of weeks for one of them I'm pretty sure you'd do it too!)
Now, the trick is, to try to explain to your 6-year old virgin-outsider-birthday-party-goer that there are different "rules" for picking out their gift. Don't get discouraged. It will take some time, but they will eventually get the concept that the gift they picked out from under their bed (a Lego guy without the lost helmet, a half-sheet of stickers and a Frisbee) will not likely get the same reaction from the "outsider" that the cousin would give.
Step 2: The Attire - When going to a cousin birthday party anything goes. No battle will be fought over the Batman costume and rain boots selection.
But when picking out a birthday outfit for an outsiders birthday party, you must try to defer your child away from THE birthday suit or any other costume-type of clothing. Try to stick with the basics: shirt, pants, socks and shoes. Most importantly, leave the Spiderman mask at home...it may scare the other kids;)
Step 3: Socializing - This one is mainly for those moms who tend to despise small talk for fear of becoming tongue-tied.
At a cousin birthday party, you will most likely know the majority of the party-goers. Which means that they will most likely know you, and your fear of crowds, especially in the context of birthday-party-chaos, so there is no need to fret.
At an outsiders birthday party, on the other hand, you may not even know the host of the party, much less all the other party-goer chaperones, and small talk is inevitable. Just pray this little prayer (like I do) "...and God, please help me to socialize to the best of my ability..." and hope for the best!
It'll all be over soon:)
|Zeke and his class-mate, best bud Kian at his other classmates b-day party this weekend|
Happy partying friends!